Metascore
83

Universal acclaim - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. Reviewed by: Scott Schueller
    100
    Gordon's documentary proves better than 90 percent of the manufactured stories out this summer. One can breathe a sigh of relief that it was done right and not cobbled into another bad fictional comedy.
  2. 100
    It’s not just one of the best documentaries I’ve ever seen, it’s one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. Period.
  3. A funny and madly arresting new documentary.
  4. Reviewed by: Robert Wilonsky
    100
    It's all true--every magical, exhilarating, infuriating, dumbfounding, jaw-dropping second of Gordon's miniature masterpiece.
  5. 91
    This film about fierce competition among classic video-game players is a comic action epic in documentary form. It captures fear -- and heroism -- in a handful of dusty video games.
  6. 91
    Gordon's feature directorial debut mostly stops being about video-game obsession and turns into a film about what it takes to make it in America.
  7. Very entertaining (and doesn’t overstay its welcome) but it’s a little depressing to contemplate.
  8. 88
    Like "Air Guitar Nation," the stranger-than-fiction cast of characters is fascinating, and their high-stakes machinations are nothing short of mind-boggling.
  9. 88
    A portrait of two different men whose compulsion for Donkey Kong is hilarious.
  10. Reviewed by: Eric Alt
    88
    If you don't play at all, you may find yourself enjoying this film more than anyone, because you'll at least get all the laughs with none of the cringing self-recognition.
  11. One of this year's funniest movies -- and its most inspirational sports drama -- is a documentary.
  12. 80
    Ultimately Gordon's movie becomes both a hilarious story about an unbelievable collection of arrested-teenage morons and, yes, an inspiring fable of persistence and redemption. I haven't mentioned this movie's fabulous addition to the English language yet, so here it is: the verb "to chumpatize."
  13. Reviewed by: Luke Y. Thompson
    80
    It may seem overblown when one of the gamers calls Donkey Kong a metaphor for life, but The King of Kong is just that -- a reminder of how we all have to prove ourselves to others, and the extent to which the odds are often stacked against outsiders and newcomers.
  14. Obsession creates its own fascination, and never more so than in King of Kong, a sprightly new documentary that's as compulsively watchable as the vintage video game it focuses on is addictive.
  15. Reviewed by: Matt Zoller Seitz
    80
    The movie’s “Rocky” formula proves irresistible anyway; unsurprisingly, New Line has commissioned Mr. Gordon to remake this story with actors.
  16. 75
    Who would have guessed that a documentary about gamers obsessed with scoring a world record at Donkey Kong would not only be roaringly funny but serve as a metaphor for the decline of Western civilization?
  17. 75
    A documentary that is beyond strange, follows two arch-enemies in their grim, long-term rivalry, which involves way more time than any human lifetime should devote to Donkey Kong.
  18. 75
    A nuanced study in obsession, dedication, manipulation, ethics and how the all-American need to be the best at something -- anything -- can shape a life.
  19. 75
    Not since "300" have I seen such manly mano-a-mano-ing as the iron clash of wills in the docu mentary King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters.
  20. As impressive as it is geeky. Most of the principal characters look like they haven't seen daylight since "Pac-Man Fever" was on the charts.
  21. 40
    It's a depressing little kingdom, even when Gordon tries desperately to goose the drama with the requisite "Eye of the Tiger" riffs and some junior high-level palace intrigue.
User Score
8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 68 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 30
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 30
  3. Negative: 0 out of 30
  1. Nov 4, 2012
    9
    The King of Kong is an excellent documentary. It portrays an engaging story and the director should be praised for how well the audience is positioned during the movie. Many great scenes, and wholly recommended. Full Review »
  2. JumperM.
    Mar 10, 2008
    10
    A fine movie! Who thought documentaries could be so good? Complete with champions, villains and nerds. Very nicely done.
  3. Aug 12, 2013
    8
    The King of Kong follows Steve Wiebe's attempt to beat the Donkey Kong world record held by the famous (in arcade gaming circles) Billy Mitchell, a record held since 1982 that many thought would never be beaten.
    Unfortunately for Wiebe simply beating Mitchells score is not enough. The established arcade hierarchy aren't happy with an outsider beating their 'hero' Mitchell. What transpires is an underdog story to rival the best Hollywood has offered in recent years as Wiebe tries to prove himself to the arcade elite.

    By the end it becomes impossible not to want Wiebe to succeed (partly because Mitchell is so smug), ignore the subject matter this is simply a great real life story.
    Full Review »